"Char, I don't have a clue what I'm doing here," Willa teared up. "It's okay
for you, but I've never… I've never kissed anyone before." Her voice faded toward the end of the sentence shamefully.
"And you think I have?" Charlene sounded hurt.
Willa backtracked. "Well, I mean I just assumed… I mean you're gorgeous, I figured… I don't know, forget about it. I'm sorry."
"Well, I haven't. The only time I've kissed anyone was when Philby kissed me and that was an emergency. I've never done it with someone I cared about. Not the way I care about Terry."
Willa bit her lip. "I'm sorry, Char."
The frustration melted off of Charlene's face. She hugged Willa. "It's okay, I get it. I'm scared, too. We're going to get through this, okay? Whatever happens, we need to have each other's backs. I've got yours. Do you have mine?"
The other girl nodded. "Of course."
"Let's do this, then, before I lose the nerve."
Willa nodded. "Good luck."
The girls turned away from each other and towards the boys.
Willa tenderly smoothed Philby's hair off of his clammy forehead, taking a deep breath and swiping at her tears before leaning down. The act of smoothing his hair served to calm her down a little bit, too. She closed her eyes, pressing her lips to his before she could back out. She pulled away, blushing profusely as she and Charlene made eye contact. Charlene smiled at her shakily, both of them unsure whether the boys would wake up.
Philby stirred, fighting to open his heavy eyelids. Once he won that battle, he discovered that the world around him was brighter than it had been when he fell asleep, which was disorienting, since it was later in the day (he assumed). Upon closer inspection of his surroundings, he saw Maybeck and Charlie in a tight hug, Tia Dalma tied up in the back of the van across from someone else he couldn't identify, and Willa, who was crying so hard she could barely breathe, right next to him.
Philby pushed himself weakly to a sitting position. "Willa?"
She sniffled, trying unsuccessfully to mop up the tears on her face. "Phil–?" She couldn't even get his whole name out through her sobs.
"You're okay!" She tackled him in a hug, then pulled away self-consciously.
Philby cleared his throat. "At the risk of sounding really stupid, what's going on?"
"Um, how much do you remember?"
"I remember getting to the clearing, and a table, and a temple, but I think that's about all I've got."
Willa took a deep breath, trying to force herself to calm down. "Okay. The Evil Queen made you and Maybeck drink some kind of potion, I don't know what exactly, and you sort of… collapsed. We didn't know if you guys would wake up again. Um, and then Tia Dalma tricked Finn and he, he stabbed Dillard thinking it was her, and Dillard didn't… he didn't make it."
Philby's eyes widened. So that was the other person in the van. He gulped, feeling sick to his stomach. It was a lot to take in. Willa started crying again, quieter this time–it made his heart ache to see her like this. He was at a loss for what to do, but he opened his arms and she gratefully hugged him back.
"I, uh, don't want to tell you everything's going to be okay, because obviously it's not right now…" He patted her back.
She nodded against his chest.
"Hang on, so how did we wind up in the back of this van?"
He pulled back to watch her while she talked.
"Finn led the OTs into the temple, and they got stuck in the labyrinth, so we got away, and Charlie and I helped him carry Dillard and you guys to the van. You guys were still… asleep, I guess, and we didn't know what to do, so I, um, I kissed you. And you woke up." She stopped, embarrassed.
"And Charlie kissed Maybeck?"
Willa nodded. "I'm really sorry, I just panicked, and I couldn't think of anything else to do."
Philby took her hand. "Please don't apologize, Willa. You woke me up, and that's the important thing. Regardless of how you did it, you saved my life. So thank you. And if you want to, we can forget about the kiss."
She nodded, then changed her mind–she'd made a decision. She would be honest and see where it got her. How could this day possibly get any worse, honestly? "I meant it."
"The kiss. I know it was an act of desperation or whatever, but… I meant it. And I'm sorry if that makes things weird, but I guess I'm just going to come out and be honest here. I like you, Philby. A lot." Willa focused her eyes on the bed of the van and pulled her hand out of Philby's, feeling vulnerable.
Philby's eyes softened as he smiled at her, even though she wasn't looking. She could hear the smile in his voice. "I like you, too. I know I'm not the best at showing it, but I really do care a lot about you, Willa."
She dared to look up at him, her eyes wide and shining. "Really?"
He chuckled nervously, flushing as he rubbed the back of his neck. "Really really."
She offered him a tiny smile. "Can I hug you?"
"Of course." He pulled her in close, running a hand up and down her back. "So I know this is probably the absolute worst time I could possibly ask this, but would you want to go on a date with me when we get back home?"
Willa gasped. "Oh my gosh, yes!"